At 38 weeks pregnant I was ready. I officially started maternity leave, written about twenty blogs, made sure clients were going to be taken care of, set up the nursery and Eliana’s big girl room, gotten everything I needed for having a home birth and cleaned the entire house. Whew!
I know most moms, including myself, are anxious about their baby’s birth, since you’re “full term” at 37 weeks. Since my first daughter, Eliana came at 37 weeks and 5 days and I felt mentally unprepared, (since most first time moms deliver at 41 weeks 1 day on average) I wanted to make sure I was TOTALLY ready for when this baby decided to come.
My first “guess date” was November 1st, then got switched to November 11th in the first trimester because of how small baby girl was measuring. So, I was pretty convinced this baby was coming early. I was thinking she would come on Halloween when I would be a little over 38 weeks along. So, I was surprised when this baby came “late” at 40 weeks 3 days. And guess what? 40 weeks and 3 days is actually the average length of pregnancy for second time moms! It figures I would go past my due date since I thought this baby would come early! I was super anxious waiting for baby, but everything turned out perfectly and she came at just the right time.
My mom had been taking Eliana a few days a week for a fun music and dance class up in Denver for the past several weeks. This was such a freaking blessing and I am SOOOOOOOOOO lucky. It gave Bill and I some time alone time to have some fun date nights, allowed me to spend some extra time in my business and with clients, and it gave me a personal break from chasing a two year old with a bum pelvis and just feeling pretty awful with the end of pregnancy pains. On my due date, my mom came and got Eliana for the last week of her music class in Denver. I was just PRAYING, (and manifesting, and hoping, wishing, positive thinking, voo-doo, etc.) that she would come that night so I would have a few days to adjust just the baby and I. But, little miss had other plans. Instead, Bill and I got one more nice date night at Costco in and I even worked in a coffee shop on some client emails and blogs the day things started progressing.
My last Belly picture!
Tuesday morning the 13th started totally normal. There was literally nothing else to “prepare” for at home, so I headed to a local coffee shop to do some work. I ended up seeing my chiropractor there for a meeting, so we laughed about how I was “still pregnant” and I told her I’d see her Thursday for my weekly adjustment. The next two things are what I believe started my birthing time. (Instead of labor, it’s called your Birthing Time in my Hypnobabies class- which sounds way more empowering if you ask me!) After working in the cafe, I headed home for lunch and proceeded to watch numerous episodes of Outlander while doing labor induction exercises on Youtube. So, there ya go. Outlander + labor exercises = BOOM, your birthing time begins. Here’s an example of my day on Instagram stories ha!
As you can see, my last update was me watching Outlander and doing labor induction exercises!
I went to the bathroom around 2 p.m. and noticed I had lost my sparkly cervix protector. (It’s actually called your mucus plug, but that sounds disgusting so I made up the other term.) When I had Eliana, it was a few days after I lost my sparkly cervix protector that she came, but I was happy that there was at least a SIGN of baby coming soon!
By about 3:00 p.m. I was having 20-30 second “pressure waves” or “birthing waves” (instead of calling them contractions) very frequently. I was stoked and feeling pretty sure this baby was coming by at least 9:00 p.m. with how fast things were progressing. I messaged my midwife team and doula, called the hubby and let immediate family and friends know that, “it was time!”
Then, nothing happened. For like 11 hours.
Not really anyway. I continued having pressure waves throughout the day. They usually stopped me from moving, so I knew they were “real” but they weren’t “painful”. I was kinda bored and disappointed. I know that sounds nuts, but I literally told Bill, “I’m bored. Things need to get going here if I’m going to have this baby by tonight.”
Fast forward to about 9:00 p.m. My pressure waves were still really inconsistent, so I told everybody, don’t rush, I’m going to bed, this may be a false alarm. I proceeded to sleep through most of the other waves using my Hypnobabies tools and audio tracks. I can’t speak ENOUGH about how important this birthing class and hypnosis tools were to me to have an easy and comfortable labor. (You can learn more here.) You are basically in a deep, meditative state during your labor to stay calm and work with your body instead of against it. You are actually in a state of hypnosis a lot during the day. When you’re driving in the car, watching a movie. It’s similar to being “zoned out”. The last few months of my pregnancy, Bill and I took a Hypnobabies childbirth class. It was an all encompassing class but focused on having a natural birth. It also teaches you techniques to stay calm and have an easier birth using hypnosis. I listened to many audio tracks, practiced daily birthing affirmations and visualizations, and Bill read scripts to me as well to practice relaxing. It was absolutely a GAME CHANGER. You can read more about my first birth experience here and why I chose to do things differently this time here. My first birthing experience was not calm and peaceful at all. You can read it in my blog from two and a half years ago here.
This class helped address my fears around giving birth again and made me feel so confident and ready. I highly recommend this birthing class to EVERYONE, regardless or where you have your baby- hospital, birthing center, your house, your backyard, whatever!
So, around 2 a.m. I started keeping track of my pressure waves. They were consistently (finally) about ten minutes apart for an hour. Each time a wave came, I went into hypnosis and relaxed my entire body. But, I was still super disappointed. In my mind, I still had a LONG way to go if my waves were only ten minutes apart. The waves were feeling pretty strong, so I still went upstairs from laying on the floor in the living room (don’t ask me why now I thought that was a comfortable place) and woke Bill up. I told him things were getting serious, call everyone to come. Literally after I said that to Bill, the pressure waves started coming every 2-3 minutes consistently. It was crazy going from ten minutes apart to two minutes! The most comfortable position for me was being on my hands and knees and leaning on a small bench in our bedroom. (I never imagined laboring right there, but I didn’t move until I was made to.) When the team of midwives and my doula arrived, I was in the transformation (or transition as it is typically called) stage. They did a great job of helping me stay in hypnosis, stay deeply relaxed and calm during typically the hardest part of your birthing time. Finally, Bill and the team convinced me to get into the birthing tub. It was nice and warm they said, but I was being super stubborn and didn’t want to move. For some reason, getting into the tub meant things were “getting real” in my mind and that baby was coming. I have no idea why I was resisting this...blame it on the hormones! So, after about 5-6 pressure waves and 10 minutes later I finally got into the birthing tub which was set up in the baby’s nursery just across the hall. I had flameless candles going and an essential oil diffuser with orange, Balance and peppermint going as well. My body got really uncontrollably shaky (- due to hormones like adrenaline) and I started getting really nauseous. This also happened with Eliana. My doula put the peppermint oil on a rag and helped me smell it every time I felt a wave of nausea. The Balance oil helped me feel more calm with my shaky body.
After going through a couple waves in the tub, my body was telling me it was time to start pushing. We all listened to a special “pushing baby out” audio track in the room and it was very relaxing and calming. The pushing is obviously the most intense part of the birthing time. Not going to lie, my I worked hard to stay as calm as possible. I relaxed my face, shoulders and hands as best I could. My legs started getting really cramped up and tired and I started to just want to be done. But, Bill and the team did a great job at keeping me calm and reminding me to breath during the pushing. I pushed nice and slow this time...since last time I pushed so hard and fast I ended up having 40 stitches. Even though I pushed slower, I still only pushed for a total of 14 minutes. So, the “active” part of my birthing time was from 2 a.m.-4:37 a.m. Easy!
After a few good pushes, out came baby. Welcome to the world Emma Jacquelyn! As soon as baby came out, my doula helped me flip over and sit up to hold her. Bill and I snuggled baby as she wailed-and dang is she loud! Almost immediately after flipping over, I had a few more small pressure waves and delivered the placenta. The midwives put the placenta in a bucket and held it next to Emma. I didn’t really know this with my first, but there is still a lot of blood and nutrients being delivered to the baby for about an hour after birth from the placenta. Read more about delyaed cord clamping here.
So, wherever baby went, the placenta followed her until we clamped and cut the cord about an hour or so later. It was really neat! Bill held Emma and rubbed in the vernix (the cheesy looking stuff) which she had a TON of. Instead of washing off the vernix immediately, its better to rub it into their skin! It’s super moisturizing and naturally an antimicrobial! Read more here.
It took me awhile to get motivated to get out of the tub as I was still feeling a lot of discomfort. Because...ya know, I just pushed a human being out of my vagina. But, finally, I got into our bed and nursed sweet baby Emma for the first time. She latched right away and we had a great first feeding. After feeding, Bill cut the cord and the midwives and my doula looked over my placenta. I think my little sister was only slightly weirded out. (Ha, love you sis!) It was cool all the things they could tell by just looking at the placenta. They could tell my placenta was full term since there were some calcification and there was an amazing “tree of life” of veins and arteries on it. Read more on the placenta here.
Finally, it was time to check mom and baby out. I didn’t need any stitches this time and only had a few minor tears and “skid marks” as they called them. Baby was measured and weighed in at 7lbs 13 oz. and was 20 inches long! (Eliana left the hospital at 5 lbs 3 oz. and 19 inches long.) So Emma baby was almost 3 pounds bigger!
I then took a nice warm shower, changed my clothes and Bill and I snuggled in bed with our new little addition. (Both of our favorite parts of the homebirth was getting to just SLEEP in our own bed uninterrupted and not having to go anywhere!!) The midwives and our doula cleaned everything up and said their goodbyes. It was amazing to wake up the next day to a clean house!
Lastly, one of my favorite parts of the entire birthing experience was seeing Eliana meet baby Emma. My mom brought her down from Denver the next day. She looked at my tummy, then at Emma and exclaimed, “Hi, baby Emma!” She has been a great little helper and will be a great big sister. I’m so excited to watch them grow together!
Overall, I’m so happy with my birthing experience. It was empowering, beautiful and healing in so many ways. If you’re thinking about your next birthing experience, I highly recommend checking out Hypnobabies, having a doula, a midwife, and maybe even considering a home birth with a birthing tub! I can’t believe all of those words just came out in one sentence, and how different they are from my first birth experience, but I wouldn’t change it for the world!